The news that didn’t stop his latest film from becoming the , but what’s even more impressive is that Captain America: Civil War has become the 25th film to join the elusive ‘Billion Dollar Movie Club’, earning a worldwide gross of $1,103.3 so far.
For decades, hitting that ten figure digit seemed like an impossible task, but with the increase in ticket prices and the prominence of the foreign market, more and more movies are reaching that number.
Unsurprisingly, franchises have played a big role in this trend; Out of the 25 movies featured on this list, over 20 of them are sequels, prequels or some kind of spin-off from a pre-existing franchise and the majority of those that comprise original material have inevitably kicked off their own franchises.
Suffice to say, the ‘Billion Dollar Movie Club’ is a mixed bag in terms of quality, so join us as we rank these 25 giants of blockbuster entertainment from worst to best, using the most objective measure we could find, Rotten Tomatoes.
25. Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 18%
Box Office Rank: #15
Worldwide Gross: $1,104.1
Despite an appalling response from the majority of critics, there’s obviously a huge fan base for Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise. Money is everything in Hollywood, so of course, as long as people continue to pay money to see CGI robots fighting on the big screen, the series will show no sign of slowing down.
24. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 32%
Box Office Rank: #20
Worldwide Gross: $1,045.7
Controversy continues to surround Johnny Depp amidst dark allegations , but that hasn’t stopped the star from making three appearances on this list, two of which feature him in the role of Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
23. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 35%
Box Office Rank: #12
Worldwide Gross: $1,123.8
It’s a dark day for those who disregard the Transformers franchise, as the studio have confirmed that based on the popular toys, one that they hope will rival Marvel’s ever growing franchise. Prepare to see a lot more mindless robot bashing folks.
22. Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 52%
Box Office Rank: #23
Worldwide Gross: $1,025.5
As the second Disney movie to hit the billion dollar mark, the CGI sprawl of Alice In Wonderland was a surprise success for the studio, spawning an and a wave of live action Disney adaptations that were fortunately far superior.
21. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 54%
Box Office Rank: #18
Worldwide Gross: $1,066.2
Following Johnny Depp’s Oscar nominated turn in the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, Dead Man’s Chest smashed records upon its release, becoming the third film to hit the billion dollar mark in record time.
20. Minions (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 55%
Box Office Rank: #11
Worldwide Gross: $1,159.4
As the loveable scene-stealing sidekicks of Despicable Me’s Gru, it was only a matter of time before the Minions received their own turn in the spotlight. Critics may not have not been overly impressed with their childish hijinks, but families visited cinemas in their droves to hear the adorable critters speak their bizarre language and fall over a lot.
19. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 56%
Box Office Rank: #22
Worldwide Gross: $1,027.0
To this day, George Lucas’s return to the Star Wars franchise was probably the most anticipated film of all time, but the weight of expectation and Jar Jar Binks ultimately crushed the dreams of many who hoped for better. However, the film clearly has its fans, as the recent re-release in 3D secured Phantom Menace a place in this esteemed group of billion dollar films.
18. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 64%
Box Office Rank: #24
Worldwide Gross: $1,021.1
After the success of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings saga, it wasn’t a huge surprise when Hollywood decided to capitalise on J.R.R. Tolkien’s work with an adaptation of The Hobbit. The film didn’t perform as well as expected in the domestic market, but managed to recoup its losses overseas, grossing over $700m.
17. Jurassic World (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72%
Box Office Rank: #4
Worldwide Gross: $1,670.4
People can say what they want about Bryce Dallas Howard’s decision to wear heels throughout a dangerous dinosaur movie, but audiences have spoken, and it seems that Chris Pratt + dinosaurs = box office gold.
16. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%
Box Office Rank: #7
Worldwide Gross: $1,405.4
Despite falling short of fan expectations, Avengers: Age of Ultron still has more going for it than most superhero movies, featuring some of the franchises best effects work and action sequences to date, while introducing fan favourite characters such as Scarlet Witch and Ultron into the MCU.
15. Iron Man 3 (2013)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%
Box Office Rank: #10
Worldwide Gross: $1,215.4
Making more than the previous two Iron Man movies combined, Shane Black’s stab at the superhero genre enjoyed a profitable knock on effect from the success of The Avengers in 2012, making Iron Man 3 Marvel’s most popular solo film to date.
14. Furious 7 (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%
Box Office Rank: #6
Worldwide Gross: $1,516.0
Franchises tend to flag after the first few instalments, but the Fast & Furious movies have grown from strength to strength in recent years. When the first movie came out, who could have predicted that the seventh film in the series would have received a score this high on Rotten Tomatoes? Paul Walker’s death brought a sad poignancy to the best chapter of the franchise yet, appealing to a surprisingly wide demographic.
13. Avatar (2009)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%
Box Office Rank: #1
Worldwide Gross: $2,788.0
No other movie has ventured this close to the 3 billion dollar mark, yet James Cameron’s sci-fi epic managed just that, showing incredible staying power at the box office that rivalled even Titanic, another pet project of Cameron’s that utilised cutting-edge technology to tell a universal and ultimately human story,
12. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%
Box Office Rank: #17
Worldwide Gross: $1,084.9
Christopher Nolan had a lot to live up to after the mind-blowing success of The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger’s definitive performance as the Joker, but the final film in the trilogy still performed exceptionally well for Warner Bros., becoming the second film to gross $100m from IMAX screenings, while earning a place on this elite list.
11. Titanic (1997)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
Box Office Rank: #2
Worldwide Gross: $2,186.8
The cultural phenomenon that is Titanic was the first member of the ‘Billion Dollar Movie Club’, remaining the highest grossing movie of all time for 12 years.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, James Cameron’s blockbuster epic raked in even more money when the 3D re-release became a huge hit in its own right upon the commemorative re-release in 2012. Seems like people can’t get enough of a youthful Leo and a belting Celine Dion tune.
10. Frozen (2013)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%
Box Office Rank: #9
Worldwide Gross: $1,276.5
The latest Disney renaissance began with the surprise success of Tangled, but Frozen’s popularity reached a whole new level, becoming a pop culture phenomenon that refused to die, much to the chagrin of parents everywhere who begged their children to ‘let it go’.
9. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
Box Office Rank: #16
Worldwide Gross: $1,103.3
As the newest member of the club, it’s important to bear in mind that Captain America: Civil War hasn’t even finished its initial cinematic run, suggesting that Hydra’s number one agent could still surpass its current box office ranking, potentially becoming the most successful Marvel movie to date.
8. Skyfall (2012)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
Box Office Rank: #14
Worldwide Gross: $1,108.6
With the news that , the search is on for a new 007, one who can hopefully beat the already impressive worldwide gross of Skyfall that bagged $1,108.6 during its extended cinematic release. Bear in mind that this was achieved without the aid of a 3D release, which bumped up many of the films on this list.
7. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
Box Office Rank: #3
Worldwide Gross: $2,066.9
Those who were disappointed with the Phantom Menace trilogy gasped a sigh of relief when J.J. Abrams’s rejuvenated the franchise with The Force Awakens, a nostalgic tribute to the original films that became one of the first and only movies to smash the 2 billion dollar mark.
6. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
Box Office Rank: #5
Worldwide Gross: $1,519.6
It’s the highest grossing comic book film of all time, proving that Marvel were right to play the long game, establishing each of their heroes in solo movies before uniting them together in the ultimate team-up movie. This is how it’s done, ladies and gentlemen.
5. Jurassic Park (1993)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%
Box Office Rank: #21
Worldwide Gross: $1,029.2
Upon it’s initial release, Jurassic Park was the highest grossing movie of all time, a record it would hold until the release of Titanic four years later. Like James Cameron’s epic, it too enjoyed a 3D re-release, one that would push it past the billion mark, where it rightly belongs.
4. The Dark Knight (2008)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
Box Office Rank: #25
Worldwide Gross: $1,004.6
The tragedy surrounding the death of Heath Ledger during the production of this film may have sold extra tickets, but regardless, Christopher Nolan’s second Batman movie deserved all of the financial and critical success it received, redefining what superhero movies are capable of.
3. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%
Box Office Rank: #13
Worldwide Gross: $1,119.9
Sure, it felt like the film had a thousand endings, but The Return of the King was a hugely satisfying conclusion to one of the most beloved trilogies of all time. Audiences clearly agreed, making it the first film to reach the billion dollar mark in six years, back before this feat was achieved on a regular basis.
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%
Box Office Rank: #8
Worldwide Gross: $1,341.5
The decision to split the final book of the Harry Potter series paid off in a huge way for Warner Bros., ensuring that the hallowed franchise went out on a high note, both artistically and financially.
1. Toy Story 3 (2010)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%
Box Office Rank: #19
Worldwide Gross: $1,063.2
With each Toy Story, Pixar broke the mould time and time again. The first instalment of the franchise showed the world what CGI was capable of, Toy Story 2 became one of those rare sequels that people loved as much as the first and the third chapter is the most popular billion dollar movie on Rotten Tomatoes by a wide margin, rightly earning a place at the top spot of our list.